Charlie Hodge column

Hodge: Would you believe a politician or a minister?

Kelowna columnist Charlie Hodge talks about his relationship with his brother in his weekly column

My brother is in town this weekend. If you run into him do not believe anything he says about me.

Vic is a lovely man with a big heart but he is my older brother and still envious of my good looks, dynamic personality, outstanding physical shape, popularity with women (some men are jealous) and my amazing humbleness despite my numerous obvious superb superior traits.

He is also still upset that of all the kids mom liked me best. Naturally none of this is my fault but I have paid the price all my life by being the best sibling of the three.

I only mention the above because Vic is also an Anglican minister and as such many folks may assume that he is always right and correct in his thought and observations. He is not.

I am not suggesting for a moment that he may not tell the truth always, I am simply mentioning that in his twilight years he may be getting forgetful and as an older brother he suffers not only from mental aging but a false assumption that because he was older he remembers more what happened as children.

Any stories he may tell you during his short visit are likely pure fabrications and I suggest you accept my versions of any episodes shared.

Like the time he broke my nose over changing the TV channel, or stuck me in a chicken coop prison for hours as a child, or blamed me for the damage done to the roof of the basement after one of his chemistry experiments blew up.

Life was never dull in the Hodge house and I imagine that will be the same this weekend when Vic and I are reunited for the first time in nine years and one of our rare visits since he left home as a young teen.

Early life was not been terribly easy on Vic. A brilliant boy with a scientific brain and a fascination with understanding how things worked, Vic flirted with a career in the military and as a tremendous photographer, but found his niche in selling cameras and photography equipment at a local store. That led to work in a retail chain and eventually moving up the corporate ladder.

All the pressure of being a can’t miss executive took its toll on the young man however and that’s how the booze crept in.

A new and soon floundering marriage and opening of a restaurant only added to Vic’s stressors and a downward spiral of drinking began. Within a few years Vic had pretty much lost everything including his restaurant, marriage, job and dignity.

He bottomed out but thankfully there were others to help him back up.

Rehab saved Vic’s future but it was the kindness of others and the comfort and encouragement of counsellors that saved his life. A renewed faith and the ability to ask for help were major steps in his recovery. Vic eventually returned to the rehab facility as a volunteer, started attending theology courses and eventually became ordained.

His world has become an amazing sphere of purpose and belief, of hope, kindness, and peace. He wears it well and those around him truly benefit from rubbing shoulders with him.

I have had the privilege of watching him in service, listen to him share sermon, perform marriages (including ours) and simply ‘minister’ others. He has all the gentleness and caring of our cherished mom. He literally glows with a goodness of his heart that makes me so proud of being connected to him.

I am inspired by Vic in how one can indeed recover and conquer from fears and issues and do so with a smile.

Unfortunately for Moi, Vic has spent his minister years in Ontario or the Maritimes so we have shared little time together. But when we have it is so clear we are indeed kinfolk. We share the same chuckle and slightly bent sense of humor and cannot resist a prank or any excuse for some witty fun at the other’s expense.

We are pretty simple folks. What you see is largely what there is. Except, of course, I am the better looking of the two.

So, if you happen to see us this weekend or early next week together please remember to gush over me with praise about how great of a person, writer, city councillor, humanitarian I am, especially considering my upbringing with such questionable characters in my family.

If I introduce Vic, please act excited, tell him that I talk about him all the time, and remind him how lucky he is to have me as his brother.

And don’t listen to a word he is saying. After all who would you believe: An honest politician or an Anglican minister?

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